Washington State Initiative 1107 is about to come to a vote. Initiative 1107 is an effort to repeal a candy tax and bottled water tax that had been put in place by the state legislature. The actual initiative is trying to repeal many different food and beverage taxes that were put in place in an effort for the state to raise nearly $300 million in additional revenues over the next three years.
Some have cited confusing rules within the taxes that point towards reasons for not having them, and other arguments against the taxes state that they are unfair for grocers and consumers. The legislators of Washington feel though, that the taxes will help balance a state budget that has been allowed to go deep into deficit.
Some of the taxes just don’t make sense to Washington State residents, and it begins with the candy tax that was put into play. This candy tax applies to any candy that does not require refrigeration or has flour in the ingredients. It’s an odd standard, meaning items like Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are taxed, but that Kit Kat bars, Twix, and Whoppers are exempt from the tax.
Baby Ruth candy bars are taxed, but Nestle Crunch is not, and so on down an odd list of taxable and exempted items you will find at a grocery store. Diet soda is also getting taxed, along with all bottled water sales in the state, and now the voters of Washington State will get to decide for themselves if these taxes are necessary. Within the rules, there has never been a clarification to Washington consumers as to which of their candy purchases will be taxed until they are actually at the cash register to find out.
We live in difficult economic times, and it is hard to come up with strong arguments about why people need to have their impulse purchases at the grocery store further taxed. It seems almost like the legislators weren’t entirely behind the candy tax in the first place, especially with all of the exemptions.
There is of course the argument that the taxes will help cover a shortfall in the budget that would take money away from our schools and park systems. It will be up to the voters of Washington State to make that final assessment on November 4th though, and the people will either speak out against the taxes by voting yes on Initiative 1107 or support the states elected officials by voting no on the initiative.